Keystone pipeline foes create 'human oil spill' at rally; hundreds arrested
March 2nd, 2014
06:47 PM ET
7 years ago

Keystone pipeline foes create 'human oil spill' at rally; hundreds arrested

(CNN)– Hundreds of students and youth organizers were arrested outside the White House Sunday as they protested against the Keystone XL pipeline under review by the Obama administration.

Some demonstrators zip-tied their hands to the White House fence, and others acted out a "human oil spill," lying on black tarps in front of the White House.

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Nearly a thousand students began their march at Georgetown University and proceeded to the outside of Secretary of State John Kerry's Washington home, where they created a smaller human oil spill. Marchers then headed to Lafayette Square for a rally. Afterward, around a third of the crowd then peacefully moved to the White House fence.

Participants said they hoped that a strong statement from younger voters would further pressure President Barack Obama to reject the project.

"(This is) a youth-organized action to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone Pipeline," said Nick Stracco, who participated in XL Dissent, the name of the rally. "Because the youth vote was a crucial part in both of his elections, we know that we elected him and we voted for a climate champion, not another pipeline president."

The $5.3 billion pipeline, which would begin in northern Hardisty, Alberta, would transport tar sands oil over 1,179 miles through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to connect with existing segments in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Once completed, it would carry 830,000 barrels a day to Houston and Port Arthur on the Gulf Coast. Proponents of the pipeline point to the thousands of potential jobs that could result from its construction.

Environmental groups oppose the pipeline because extracting and refining the tar sands oil emits 17% more of the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change than conventional oil production. Environmental advocates also say projects like the pipeline reinforce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels rather than encourage green technologies.

The project by TransCanada still needs federal approval because the pipeline would cross an international border. The State Department released an environmental report on the pipeline January 31. The public now has 90-day period for public comment and consultation.

Stracco expressed considerable skepticism about the report.

"The report that came out of the State Department is as dirty as the pipeline itself," he said. "Any suggestion that an 800,000 barrel a day oil sands pipeline will not contribute to climate change is incorrect."

Kerry, who is known for his effort to combat climate change, will determine if the pipeline project is in the national interest and make a recommendation to Obama. The final call rests with the President.

–CNN's Anna Wiernicki, Eddie Gross, Dennis Ting and Tom Cohen contributed to this report

Filed under: Energy • White House
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Good, nothing good will come from the keystone pipe in this country.

    March 2, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. HemiHead66

    That tar-slop pipeline isn't in our interest at all. Our refining capacity will be used to turn that tar-slop oil into gas for sale overseas to the highest bidder, most likely raising our gas prices here at home.

    March 2, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. HemiHead66

    Arrested??? For what? Where was John McCain to make sure our citizens were allowed to protest against our corrupt corporate Govt.??

    March 2, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |

    Free lesson 4 today kids . No oil N0 F00D . Class is over .Think about it thank you .

    March 2, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. JR

    This is not only a youth movement. Everyone should wake up and become involved in stopping this pipeline. We can't sit back and allow this to happen. Please make contact your elected officials and the Whitehouse to tell them this is unacceptable. Please post your comments at before March 7.

    March 2, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  6. Gt

    George Town brats ..nothing to do so let's get our picture on tv....most of their grand parents work with there hands to help there children get ahead bad these spoiled brats don't know how to work hard for a pay ck

    March 2, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. TransitDave

    These people think they're saving the environment, but they're only helping Warren Buffet get richer.........The oil is going by train instead of by pipeline........But it's getting hauled by Buffet's railroad..........And keeping the cost of oil just that much higher....Great job guys.......Keep up the good work........

    March 2, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. just asking

    looks like obama's little useful idiot followers are there to annoy obama. hey dummies, he used you. you mean nothing to him now. the pipeline will be approved. get over it and get a job while you're at it. good luck with that in this crappy obama economy.

    March 2, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. plain and simple

    Like it or not,Canada is extracting oil from sand. The pipeline needs to be built and people need to be put to work. If we want alternative forms of energy we need to continue to develop them and then start implementing them. Not building this pipeline will allow the regulation of exporting and shipping of the oil to be controlled by others who conceivably will be not as stringent as WE are.

    March 2, 2014 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. dwayne

    good for them.
    We are screwing up this Planet big time, with our Greed and intent on destroying everything in our Human Path..
    The generation coming up wit have sick planet to deal with.

    March 3, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. Jan Nappylotto

    Of course these are the same people that push for wind power, spend millions to put up windmills, then cry when a seagull gets injured by the windmill and get the windmills torn down.

    March 3, 2014 12:42 am at 12:42 am |

    The GOBP are working hard for their Big Oil masters.

    March 3, 2014 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  13. budsview

    "Environmental advocates also say projects like the pipeline reinforce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels rather than encourage green technologies."

    guess what, we are dependent on fossil fuels. the question is where we get the fuels from and a what cost. all the green technologies are as dependent on those fuels as the rest of us. so is it better to be dependent on the middle east? or maybe Russia will provide us with oil. we all know that this oil will be shipped and refined somewhere, the question is whether we take advantage, or let someone else benefit.

    March 3, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    Future generation cars are fuel-efficient, Battery operated cars–energy is Alternate energy too–this way not only we can reduce Middle-East business, but we can save PLANET too. Stop this Koch keystones.

    March 3, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    No, it won't be CPAC, but rather a dysfunctional media – the very same that made Cruz in the first place. If CNN and the rest didn't carry so much water for the guy nobody would have heard of him.

    Ratings, Dave. Ratings. Anything to create viewers. What the media hasn't understood is that their "approval" ratings are lower than that of the President, Congress, and used car salesmen.

    Indeed. Our United States media is one of the few organizations that can say whatever it wants and still make profits from their outrageousness.

    The more people complain, the more outrageous CNN becomes.

    March 3, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    It looks like the kids are having fun. Almost makes you wish to be college student again. I wonder how many really understand the issues on both sides of the pipeline argument.

    March 3, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  17. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP SEWAGE PIPE should run through every GOP state and then the GOP can SPEND their STATE money to clean up the mess!!!!!!or call the Koch brothers, I'm sure they will be happy to clean up the mess THEIR SEWAGE PIPE caused!!!!!!

    March 3, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Once completed, it would carry 830,000 barrels a day to Houston and Port Arthur on the Gulf Coast. Proponents of the pipeline point to the thousands of potential jobs that could result from its construction.
    The jobs argument is weak one because they are only temporary, and the numbers are inflated. Once completed, the pipeline will kill more jobs than it is supposed to create. I understand that one hundred tanker trucks are filled every day for the journey out of Canada. Those jobs will be lost.

    Then there is pipeline itself. The pipeline should monitoring equipement to detect leaks. When the sensors detect a 1% loss in the flow, the alarm is raised. As good as that sounds, it means a loss of over 8000 barrels before it is even detected.

    March 3, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    My biggest complaint about the pipeline is that they are IMPORTING the steel pipeline segements out of Asia somewhere.

    March 3, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  20. Pete

    Canada knows how caustic this crude is or they'd be piping it west to their shore based terminals,ask their prime minister if he'll talk straight without lying ..This crude is too toxic ,caustic and Canada expects us to refine it at our facilities way down south over 1700 miles away ,how stupid..But is American corporations that ship,refine this crap willing to take a chance that if an accident occurs that they'll clean up what's never been cleaned up before..Ask Michigan how Keystone is still trying to clean up a pipeline leak from 5 years ago at a lake now dead..Need I say more and this crude isn't even going to anyone but China,enough said..

    March 3, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. Enough is Enough

    Too bad they didn't try to hold their global warming protest today – they would have been snowed out....I wish just one of these students could show me the correlation between CO2 leveles in the atmosphere and global temeperature change.....but they can't...yet they continue to spout the drivel they get from their professors and their masters.....

    March 3, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. salty dog

    The Koch brothers didn't like the first report, so they had one done will say what big money tells it to. These guys are bad news, they corrupt Canada too, just can't let money run your government, it simply doesn't work.

    March 3, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. Neisha

    Where's our promised 'green' revolution? Ironically, it's another green, let's call him Mr. Green, that continually slows down technology. We are behind other less developed countries in internet speed because of Mr. Green. We continue to be far behind our peer countries in speed train travel because of Mr. Green. I am all for Mr. Green, when it makes sense for the betterment of all men, not just 1,000 rich wigs. I am neither red nor blue, I sit in the middle and vote for those that just might be the least corrupt from my minimalistic public view. Dear leaders of our future, think about your children's children. This planet cannot handle much more abuse. Put a cork in our emissions. Mother Nature will win in the end but chances are we will not be there to celebrate with her.

    March 3, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. salty dog

    There is a 2 billion limit on their liability, so when it leaks cisting hundred times that, who pays, we do. That is ridiculous, they will still be making money, while we pay to clean up their mess. Why are we refining this in our country, doesn't Canada have refineries? They stick us with all the pollution, all the risk, and zero reward. The jobs numbers, like the second report are all lies, paid for by the Koch's. Simply a very bad idea. The fact that were even considering this is telling.

    March 3, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. salty dog

    Watching the men who built america,.I realized, we've come full circle in just over a hundred years. And the result was the great depression. Many economists predict the same again soon, we are not able to support such inequality, printing money by the tens of billions each month, most if it is going straight to the top again. 95% of wealth to the top 1% since 08, and no end insight, greed will yet again destroy our country. You can't tell that to the ones getting filthy rich from these policies, they just don't care, their getting richer by the day, they don't see it as a bad thing, to an extent its good, this record inequality is not healthy no matter how you spin it.

    March 3, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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